How to Fix Door Jamb Air Leaks

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An unsealed entranceway can allow outside air to enter your home, leading to uncomfortable drafts. These air leaks also reduce your home's energy efficiency and may lead to increased heating and cooling bills. Air leaks around door jambs can often be attributed to poor installation or insufficient weatherstripping and insulation. Fortunately, both of these problems are easy to fix. Most DIY homeowners can reduce or eliminate these air leaks in just a few hours using simple tools and techniques.

Things You'll Need

  • Utility knife
  • Hammer
  • Pry bar
  • Nails
  • Insulation
  • Caulk
  • Weatherstripping
  • Threshold
  • Door sweep
  • Examine your door frame from both sides of the opening. It is most likely covered by some form of trim or molding. To repair air leaks around the jambs, you'll need to remove this trim from one side of the door.

  • Use a utility knife to cut away caulk or paint from between the jambs and wall. You'll only need to do this on the side where the casing will be removed (either indoors or out).

  • Pry away the trim using a pry bar or hammer. Work very carefully so the trim isn't damaged. Start at the bottom of the jambs and pry the trim away just a small amount at a time, working your way up the frame. Once the trim is removed, use your hammer to remove all nails, then set the trim aside for reuse.

  • Check for insulation in the gap between the jambs and wall framing. If the existing insulation is wet or dirty, remove it and replace it. Fill the space with fiberglass batt insulation. The gaps should be filled as much as possible, but not overstuffed, as compressed insulation tends to lose its effectiveness.

  • Reinstall the casing around your door. Hammer it in place using small finish nails. If the heads of each nail detract from the aesthetic appearance of the casing, cover them with wood filler to match the rest of the frame.

  • Caulk around the perimeter of the frame where it meets the wall. Use a clear silicone caulk, or one that matches the wall color. Check both sides of the opening and add caulk as needed to help seal the entrance.

  • Install weatherstripping around the inside perimeter of the frame. Choose a felt or neoprene stick-on weatherstripping and apply it to the jambs. Use a single length of material for each jamb. Make sure the door can still close properly once the weatherstripping is installed.

Tips & Warnings

  • To increase your protection against air leaks, consider adding a threshold and door sweep to seal the bottom of the opening.

References

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